WASHINGTON, D.C., March 27, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A United States senator pleaded with her colleagues to end the country’s dangerous reliance on Chinese drug production by bringing pharmaceutical manufacturing back into the United States of America.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) delivered a sobering presentation, urging her colleagues to join in supporting a measure — aptly named the “Securing America’s Medicine Cabinet Act” — which aims to free the U.S. from China’s stranglehold on the supply chain for many important drugs.
Not only did Blackburn note the Chinese communist government’s current “gross malfeasance” in its handling of its coronavirus outbreak, downplaying the severity of COVID-19 and denying the risk of person-to-person transmission; she also called attention to a long history of the Chinese pharmaceutical industry supplying the U.S. with substandard — sometimes deadly — medicines.
Speaking from the floor of the Senate chamber on Wednesday, Blackburn declared in no uncertain terms that our country’s relationship with China needs to change.
“Americans deserve better than this from their pharmaceutical supply chain. If we allow this to continue, we are going to do so at our own peril,” said Blackburn.
“I encourage my colleagues to support the bipartisan Securing America’s Medicine Cabinet Act,” urged the Tennessee senator.
“Bring this pharmaceutical manufacturing back into the United States of America,” she continued. “We need to end Chinese control over our health and wellness in this pharmaceutical supply chain.”
“This may seem like something that is too large or too risky an undertaking, but we have already paid dearly for our reliance on Chinese drug manufacturers,” noted Blackburn. “And it’s not going to stop because that vulnerability is leverage in the hands of madmen in Beijing who seek nothing but power and will go to any lengths to acquire that power.”
“They don’t care who they hurt; It’s clear with this global pandemic. They don’t care if it is innocent people that are sick or maybe even that lose their life,” she said, noting that “They defy us — they defy us — when we try to stop them.”
“It’s time that we rise to the challenge and that we return this supply chain,” she concluded.
Click here to watch the video of Sen. Blackburn’s remarks. Below is the text:
[A]fter we acknowledge Beijing’s gross malfeasance, we’re going to adjust the way we think about China in the context of the economy, of our national defense, technology, human rights, and pharmaceutical manufacturing.
When you think about it, the fact that Beijing intentionally downplayed the deadly nature of COVID-19 should come as no surprise. For decades —Decades!— China has made [it] their business to search out our vulnerabilities, exploit those vulnerabilities, and then what do they try to do? They try to use that as leverage against us. So it is time for us to say, ‘No more.’
Now here is another component, and I’ve talked about this this week on the floor: Our pharmaceutical supply chain.
On February 27, 2020 — this year — the F.D.A. announced the shortage of a drug used to treat victims of COVID-19. Imagine that, there was a drug shortage. They attributed the shortage to difficulties obtaining the active ingredient in this pharmaceutical. The Active ingredient, they are called APIs. Now, they couldn’t get it from this site in China which was the site that manufactured it because that site had been affected by COVID-19. So here we are. We need this component to go into a pharmaceutical. We cannot get it because the factory that produces this has been affected by COVID-19.
And it’s not the first time that this has happened.
In 2016, we saw a shortage of an important antibiotic when the sole source of its production — the only place on the globe that produced this antibiotic — was in China, and that factory was shut down. Couldn’t get it.
Our vulnerability is not limited to one drug or even just a handful of drugs.
In 2007 and 2008, 246 people died after taking a contaminated blood thinner that came directly from a factory in China. They died. 246 people, just like that. Routine inspections didn’t catch the contaminant, and the drugs flowed right into our medicine cabinets.
[In] 2010, regulators had also found serious problems with batches of thyroid medication, muscle relaxers, antibiotics.
And this week I got an email from a Tennessean. He said, “I saw what you said on the floor, and I want to let you know I take a heart medication, and it was just recalled because it contained a carcinogen and it was made in China.”
Think about this: These are the pharmaceuticals we take to return ourselves to health and wellness, to manage chronic conditions. And here we have example after example: [T]hings that are contaminated are not what they are intended to be. These are basic, common medications.
In 2018, the F.D.A. recalled several blood pressure medications made in China that were contaminated with cancer-causing toxins. Now, I would imagine there are a few people that come to work every day in this building that take a blood pressure medication. What if you had been taking one for a period of time, and it contained the cancer-causing toxins?
Americans deserve better than this from their pharmaceutical supply chain. If we allow this to continue, we are going to do so at our own peril.
I encourage my colleagues to support the bipartisan Securing America’s Medicine Cabinet Act. Sen. Menendez has worked on this legislation with me, and I’m grateful to him for his support. Mr. President, you are working on legislation that would address some of these issues.
Bring this pharmaceutical manufacturing back into the United States of America.
We need to end Chinese control over our health and wellness in this pharmaceutical supply chain.
This may seem like something that is too large or too risky an undertaking, but we have already paid dearly for our reliance on Chinese drug manufacturers, and it’s not going to stop because that vulnerability is leverage in the hands of madmen in Beijing who seek nothing but power and will go to any lengths to acquire that power.
They don’t care who they hurt. It’s clear with this global pandemic. They don’t care if it is innocent people that are sick or maybe even that lose their life. And they defy us — they defy us — when we try to stop them.
It’s time that we rise to the challenge and that we return this supply chain.
Senator Marsha Blackburn is renowned as a pro-life champion and protector of free speech.